If you’ve ever experienced dry mouth you know it’s quite unpleasant. How do you know when it’s dry mouth? Sometimes, no matter how many sips of water you take, your mouth still feels dry. It can feel sticky and you may even have trouble speaking, chewing, and swallowing. So, what causes dry mouth, is it a big deal and what can you do to prevent it?

What Causes Dry Mouth?

When people think of dry mouth they often think about marijuana use. And while that is certainly one of the many things that cause dry mouth, there are a whole lot of prescription medications that cause dry mouth. If you’re on medication that causes dry mouth, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about an alternative medication that does not have dry mouth as a side effect. If that’s not possible, we’ll talk a little later about what to do to treat your dry mouth if it can’t be prevented. Here’s a list of medications from GoodRx that cause dry mouth. While it may not have every single medication that can cause this side effect, it’s a good place to start to see if any of your medications are listed. 

Medications aren’t the only cause of dry mouth. Some others include:

  • Side effects of medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, anemia, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, Parkinson’s and more. 
  • Damage to the salivary glands from chemo and/or radiation treatments
  • Nerve damage to the head or neck 
  • Dehydration
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco 
  • Mouth breathing 

Why is Dry Mouth a Problem?

It may seem like dry mouth is just an annoying side effect that isn’t much to worry about, but it actually can cause problems for your oral health. Your saliva plays an important role in keeping your mouth healthy. Without it, your risk for gingivitis, tooth decay, and mouth infections goes up. 

How to Treat Dry Mouth 

The first step in treating dry mouth is determining the cause so we can get the root of the issue. If it’s caused by a medication, we will first ask your doctor about switching to a different one without the side effect of dry mouth. If that’s not possible, our next step will be to try and increase the amount of saliva being produced by the body. This can be done with medication. We will also work on extra preventative measures to reduce your risk of tooth decay and gingivitis. 

If you’re experiencing dry mouth, it’s important to talk to your dentist about it so they can help you prevent oral health complications. If you need to schedule an appointment, or have any questions, please call our office at 619-656-1788.